‘We have nowhere to go’: Family of 8 faces eviction crunch

I-Team Special Reports

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Time is running out for a Nevada family facing eviction the day after the state’s moratorium expired. 

“We have to be out tomorrow and we have nowhere to go,” Amber Todd, of Henderson, said Thursday. Todd lives with her fiancé and six children. 

The state’s eviction moratorium for tenants affected by COVID-19 expired, but a national moratorium by the CDC to stop evictions is in effect for the rest of the year. Tenants who qualify for the CDC waiver must fill out and sign a declaration and give it to their landlord. The CDC order requires a landlord not take action to remove a covered tenant through Dec. 31. 

“The only place we would have to go with family — and there’s eight of us — is my 91-year-old grandmother’s house,” Todd said.  “I’m not doing that with COVID. I can’t do it.” 

Todd lost her job amid mass pandemic furloughs and layoffs in March. On top of that, her landlord wants to sell her home, she said, but finding a new place has not been easy. 

“[Landlords] are not taking into consideration that we haven’t had jobs for the last six months or that I’m on unemployment,” she said. “They said they don’t take that as income.” 

Todd is in a unique position because she is an at-will tenant and needs to save money to move. The CDC waiver should cover her through the end of the year, but still, money is tight. 

Data released Thursday from the U.S. Census Bureau and Applied Analysis shows 11% of Nevada renters missed their August payment. Nearly a quarter of renters said they have “low confidence” or “no confidence” of being able to pay their next rent payment. 

There is some money available to help. Thursday, Clark County launched a new website where people who have suffered financial hardship due to COVID-19 can apply for financial assistance to pay for housing and utilities. 

The CARES Housing Assistance Program, or CHAPS, website provides an application where residents can find out if they meet the criteria and apply for help. Applicants must be Clark County residents and meet a certain income level based on their household size. Documented proof of their financial hardship due to COVID-19 will be required. 

“We knew we needed another way for people to get that assistance now,” Tim Burch, the county’s human services administrator, said. 

The new online system should be able to confirm an application within minutes, Burch said. 

Todd said she believes she has done everything she can – between homeschooling her children and looking for a new home. 

“I’ve spent hours on the computer,” she said. “It’s like one step forward and two steps back.” 

If residents qualify for CHAPS, the financial assistance includes past due and late fees incurred as of March 1 this year. Payments will be made directly to the mortgage company, landlord and utility company. 

The program expires at the end of December. 

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